Album Review: Elegant Weapons - Horns for a Halo
Reviewed by Lana Teramae
Elegant Weapons is a new supergroup formed by Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. He created the group as an outlet to combine all of his musical influences into one, develop a more modern sound, apply everything that he’s learned from working with Judas Priest, and to find his own voice.
“Yes, everything that you do, without sounding pretentious, is trying to find your own voice and extension of your voice. I’ve been in cover bands all my life. Then you find yourself replacing K.K. Downing and it’s like, ‘Now what am I gonna say?’ I can’t sound like K.K. Downing. I can’t sound like Eddie Van Halen. I can’t sound like Zakk Wylde. So it’s refining and honing what your voice is, constantly fine-tuning what that voice is. And hopefully when people listen to it, they’ll think, ‘Oh, that’s Richie.’ In every song and every solo hopefully there’s that sound, that narrative, that voice, and hopefully it stands the test of time,” said Faulkner in a press release.
So, what does Elegant Weapons sound like? Well, they are a mix of the greats like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Dio, and Rainbow. But, they also have a lot of melody.
Elegant Weapons are preparing for the release of their debut studio album Horns for a Halo, which will be released on May 26, 2023 through Nuclear Blast Records. First of all, the lineup that plays on the album is incredible. It consists of Faulkner on guitars, Ronnie Romero on lead vocals, Rex Brown on bass guitar, and Scott Travis (Faulkner’s bandmate in Judas Priest) on drums. The touring lineup will be a little different with bassist Dave Rimmer and drummer Christopher Williams stepping in for Brown and Travis. Oh, and the album was produced by legendary modern metal producer Andy Sneap, who also worked with Judas Priest.
'Dead Man Walking' opens the album and Travis announces his presence with his monstrous kick drum work. The guitar melodies are impossible to deny and it’s filled with catchy hooks. Speaking of catchy hooks, 'Blind Leading the Blind', the album’s first single has a memorable chorus that’s hard not to sing along to. The lyrics also make listeners think about the downsides of having power and control over those around them. 'Ghost of You' is the most laid-back, mellow, and blues-based track on the album. The lyrics depict someone getting over a lost love.
On the heavier side, there are headbangers like the title track, 'Dirty Pig', and 'Downfall Rising'. The Black Sabbath influences stand out greatly in those tracks. There are dark lyrical themes, thick bass lines, and blistering guitar solos. “White Horse” is another standout track, which is a dark seven-minute epic with a killer bass line.
The only downside to Horns for a Halo would be the band’s cover of UFO’s 'Lights Out'. It’s not a bad cover, by all means. But with Faulkner’s songwriting chops, it would’ve been nice to have had another original tune versus a cover.
Overall, Horns for a Halo is an excellent debut studio album from Elegant Weapons. The band sounds great, the songs are memorable, and Andy Sneap’s production really amplifies the band’s sound to its fullest.